. Interchanging Idioms: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Landmark Season Takes Soprano Deborah Voigt from Wild West to Valhalla and Broadway with Several Notable Firsts

Deborah Voigt’s 2010-11 season is truly remarkable – if not downright breathtaking – for its breadth and diversity, embracing iconic roles of the opera, concert, and Broadway stage, with several notable debuts along the way.  On the opera stage, she begins in October with her debut at Washington National Opera, where she will star as Richard Strauss’s Salome.  In December she takes on Minnie in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West (Girl of the Golden West) at the Metropolitan Opera, a production that marks the centenary of the opera’s debut there under the baton of Arturo Toscanini, as well as Voigt’s house debut in the role.  The following month, she reprises Minnie in a Lyric Opera of Chicago production – another house role debut for Voigt, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.  In April, Voigt takes on one of the greatest opera roles in the repertoire for the first time: Brünnhilde in Robert Lepage’s highly anticipated new Metropolitan Opera production of Wagner’s Die Walküre, conducted by James Levine.  A spring gala for the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall in May will feature an evening of Broadway songs, a preview of sorts for a major event this summer when Voigt headlines the Glimmerglass Festival’s new production of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun.  Voigt will be the festival’s first Artist-in-Residence, and, in addition to her portrayal there of Annie Oakley, she will also perform an evening of cabaret songs in a one-woman show written for her by award-winning playwright Terrence McNally.  Other season highlights include a Lincoln Center Fall Gala performance with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Daniel Harding, and Schoenberg’s harrowing monodrama, Erwartung, with David Robertson conducting the New York Philharmonic.

Deborah Voigt begins her busy season with her home company, the Metropolitan Opera, as a host rather than as a singer.  On Monday, September 27 Voigt hosts the company’s Opening Night, which features the debut of Das Rheingold, the first installment of the Met’s new production of Wagner’s complete “Ring” cycle, to be conducted by James Levine.  Voigt will greet VIPs on the red carpet from 6:15 to 6:45pm, as well as interviewing “Ring” director Robert Lepage.  The broadcast will be shown on big screens in New York’s Times Square and Lincoln Center Plaza.  Then, on October 9, Voigt hosts the Met’s first transmission of the season in its enormously popular The Met: Live in HD series, when Das Rheingold will be seen in 46 countries worldwide.

Voigt’s nine performances as Puccini’s “Fanciulla” (Dec 6 – Jan 8) – the pistol-packing, poker-playing barmaid in Puccini’s Gold Rush extravaganza – reprises a role that Voigt added to her repertory this past spring at San Francisco Opera.  The Associated Press reported on the occasion, “Both vocally and dramatically, the role is almost ideally suited to Voigt’s strengths – large, gleaming high notes…, and a stage presence that radiates an endearing charm, whether she’s teaching Bible class to the miners, cheating in a poker game against Sheriff Jack Rance, or riding in on a white horse to save her man.”  The December 10 performance takes place 100 years to the day after the work’s premiere at the Met.  The final performance of the Met run will be seen worldwide in The Met: Live in HD series.

Long heralded as the leading dramatic soprano of our time, Voigt climbs another operatic peak at the Met this season, when she takes on Brünnhilde – one of the most challenging roles, and arguably the most famous in opera – in Wagner’s Die Walküre for the first time (seven performances, April 22 – May 14).  The final performance will also be in The Met: Live in HD series.  Voigt’s first public performance of any of Brünnhilde’s music was at the Tanglewood Festival in July 2005, when James Levine led the students of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in an all-Wagner program that included Act III of Götterdämmerung.  The New York Times was on hand and called her performances, “blazingly powerful, deeply expressive, and, as always, musically scrupulous.”  Voigt’s widely hailed portrayals of the great Wagner heroines at the Met have included such signature roles as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Elisabeth in Tannhaüser, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, and, most recently, Senta inDer fliegende Holländer.

Voigt’s debut at Washington National Opera will be in a new production of Richard Strauss’s Salome (seven performances, Oct 7-23) directed by Francesca Zambello.  It was Zambello who collaborated with Voigt on her enormously successful staged role debut as Salome in a production at Lyric Opera of Chicago in October 2006.  TheChicago Tribune reported, “Her singing was gleaming and voluptuous, its power and warm, womanly vocal quality undiminished. … Voigt poured out the grueling final scene in a mad exultation of opulent, radiant tone.”  Voigt’s nine “Fanciulla” performances (Jan 22 – Feb 21) at the company this season will be in an updated production by Harold Prince directed by Vincent Liotta.

A dazzling diversity characterizes Voigt’s work this season off the opera stage.  Highlights include Beethoven’s scene and aria, “Ah, perfido!” with the Dresden Staatskapelle at Avery Fisher Hall (Nov 1); a private benefit concert at the legendary Café Carlyle on behalf of “The WQXR Campaign: Saving Classical Music on the Radio in New York City” (Nov 7); an appearance at the annual Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala (Nov 14); “Something Wonderful: An Evening of Broadway with Deborah Voigt,” a concert and spring benefit with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall featuring the Tony Award-winning baritone Paulo Szot as special guest (May 19); and Schoenberg’s one-act, one-woman monodrama Erwartung with the New York Philharmonic (June 9-11).

Next summer, Voigt returns fully to her roots when she sings the title role in Irving Berlin’s beloved musical Annie Get Your Gun at the Glimmerglass Festival (14 performances, July 16 – Aug 21).  Voigt has long spoken fondly in interviews about her early days as a performer singing musical theater in high school productions, and throughout her career has performed Broadway songs as encores in recital programs, in special benefit concerts, and, in recent seasons, in Lincoln Center’s celebrated “American Songbook” series.  Reviewing a benefit concert for New York Theatre Workshop that featured Voigt performing with leading men of Broadway,Opera News enthused:

“She cut loose with an evening of arias and show tunes, opposite leading men Patrick Wilson, Malcolm Gets, Adam Pascal, Tom Wopat, and Howard McGillin… . She gave her all in songs ranging from ‘Till There Was You’ to ‘Ice Cream (She Loves Me)’ to ‘Do I Hear a Waltz?’  Her most stunning moment came from her encore, a tender and moving rendition of Janis Ian’s ‘Stars.’  She showed sharp comic timing throughout the evening; this wasn’t an opera star condescending to her material, but a Broadway baby at heart who was relaxed, sassy, and having fun.”

Voigt expressed her delight with taking on Annie – a role inhabited by theater legend Ethel Merman and, more recently, such talents as Bernadette Peters and Reba McEntire:

“Fifty or 60 years ago, these big, classic American musicals were originally scored with very large orchestras, and there was certainly no sound amplification.  It will be exciting to sing Annie this way, and I’m certain that our audiences will find it very satisfying to hear the orchestra and the singing performed the way it was intended.”

Looking ahead to the thrills of such a wide-ranging season, Voigt might respond with the title of one of the best-known songs from “Annie”: “There’s no business like show business!”

Deborah Voigt: 2010-11 engagements

October 7
Washington, D.C.
Debut at Washington National Opera
Richard Strauss: Salome (Salome)
New production by Francesca Zambello; conducted by Philippe Auguin
Additional performances: Oct 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, & 23

November 1
New York, NY
Beethoven: “Ah, perfido!”
Dresden Staatskapelle / Daniel Harding
Part of Lincoln Center’s Fall Gala at Avery Fisher Hall

November 7
New York, NY
Cabaret performance at Café Carlyle
Private benefit concert on behalf of “The WQXR Campaign: Saving Classical Music on the Radio in New York City”

November 14
Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala

December 6
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Puccini: La fanciulla del West (Minnie; house role debut)
Marking the 100th anniversary of the opera’s world premiere at the Met
Additional performances: Dec 10, 14, 18, 22, 27, & 30; Jan 3 & 8m
Jan 8 performance will be in Met: Live in HD series

December 8
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera Guild Community Center
Interview with F. Paul Driscoll, Editor-in-Chief, Opera News

January 22
Chicago, IL
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Puccini: La fanciulla del West (Minnie; house role debut)
Harold Prince production directed by Vincent Liotta; conducted by Sir Andrew Davis
Additional performances: Jan 26m & 29; Feb 4, 9, 12, 15, 18m, & 21

April 22
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Wagner: Die Walküre (Brünnhilde; role debut)
New production by Robert Lepage; conducted by James Levine
Additional performances: April 25 & 28; May 2, 5, 9, & 14m
May 14 performance will be in Met: Live in HD series

May 19
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
“Something Wonderful: An Evening of Broadway with Deborah Voigt”
Concert and spring benefit with the Collegiate Chorale
Featured guest artist Paulo Szot
American Symphony Orchestra / Ted Sperling

June 9-11
New York, NY
Schoenberg: Erwartung 
New York Philharmonic / David Robertson
Avery Fisher Hall

July 16
Cooperstown, NY
Irving Berlin: Annie Get Your Gun (Annie)
Glimmerglass Festival
Additional performances: July 18m, 22, 24m, & 30;
Aug 2m, 4, 6m, 9m, 12, 15m, 18, 20m, & 21m

July 29
Cooperstown, NY
“The Singer and The Song: A Cabaret”
Glimmerglass Festival

Deutsche Grammophon Signs Guitar Virtuoso Miloš Karadaglić

Photo: © Milos Todorovic and Ilona Karwinska

(New York, NY) – Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to announce the signing of an exclusive recording-agreement with guitar virtuoso Miloš Karadaglić.

This young classical guitarist is preparing his début album for release in spring 2011.

Michael Lang, President, Deutsche Grammophon, said, "We're thrilled to work with Miloš — he's a terrific talent, an engaging personality — and we know the time is now to re-establish the classical guitar in the world of music. Miloš is the one."

The début album by Miloš will pay tribute to the guitarist’s own Mediterranean roots. Featuring music from his           

 Montenegro homeland and from the Balkans and Spain, and by composers such as Granados, Domeniconi and Albéniz, the recording will explore the Euro-Arabian world that his instrument has come from.

Born in Montenegro in 1983, Miloš has already established himself as one of today’s most gifted guitar virtuosos. He began playing the guitar at the age of eight, and quickly won national recognition for his performances. At sixteen, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music where, after graduating with First Class Honors, he went on to complete a Masters degree in Performance.

Miloš said of his signing: "Deutsche Grammophon is a home to many of my musical idols. When I was a child, I remember listening to the great guitarist, Andrés Segovia, and dreaming that one day I, too, might have such a career. Now it is becoming a reality and my dreams are being fulfilled more quickly than I could possibly have imagined.  I am honored and excited to begin my collaboration with this fantastic label and hope, through my playing, that I will bring the guitar to a new generation of listeners."

Cecilia Bartoli takes over the Salzburg Whitsun Festival

The intendant designate of the Salzburg Festival, Alexander Pereira, has appointed Cecilia Bartoli to the post of artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival starting in 2012.

I am tremendously pleased that Cecilia Bartoli’s long association with Salzburg, which has proved so inspirational in the past, can now be placed on a new footing.

The admirable courage that characterizes Cecilia’s work in terms of its quality and imagination has persuaded me to ask her to become artistic director of the Whitsun Festival under my intendancy and to help in shaping the festival from 2012 onwards.

In addition to her Baroque and Classical projects, Cecilia has in recent years made a distinguished contribution to the bel canto repertory. As a result, our work together will not be limited to Baroque projects, in spite of what has been written elsewhere, but will extend to all the different areas of artistic endeavor to which she has brought such commitment.” Alexander Pereira

Cecilia Bartoli: “As one of my earliest supporters, Alexander Pereira took me under his wing while I was still a young beginner and over the years has offered me many wonderful opportunities to realize my artistic ideas. And so it is an immense pleasure and an honor to think that our friendship will result in this new and exciting collaboration in Salzburg.”

The idea is to work on one opera a year as an independent production and to perform it at least twice over the Whitsun weekend. Concerts will be planned around the opera and will take place on individual days, expanding that year’s particular focus of interest in thematically relevant ways. As a novel feature, the opera that is produced at Whitsun will be taken over into the festival’s summer program and performed five or so times with the same cast.

The detailed program will be announced at a later date.

Exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” Enters Third Season, with New Canary Classics CD and 34 Live Performances

Given his formidable technique as well as a big, singing tone and a sunny disposition, he is hardly in danger of wearing out his welcome.”– New York Times

Once again, Gil Shaham’s longterm exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” is central to the coming season, during which he performs masterpieces by Barber, Bartók, Berg, Hartmann, Prokofiev, and Walton. These he will play with leading orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Chicago Symphony, where he does double duty as soloist and conductor, and the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Mariinsky Orchestra, Berlin’s Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, and Orchestre de Paris. This season also sees the project yield its first recording when Shaham’s own label, Canary Classics, issues a CD of the Stravinsky, Barber, and Berg concertos, all conducted by David Robertson, with three high profile orchestras. Beyond the 1930s, Shaham joins Emmanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in a historic concert celebrating the 120th anniversary of Carnegie Hall; he plays Mozart’s Fifth “Turkish” Concerto with Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony; and he performs the Mendelssohn with Jansons and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Upcoming highlights also include the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s festive season-opening concert, and a program of Jewish violin and piano repertoire with his sister, Orli Shaham, at New York’s 92nd Street Y, including the world premiere of a new commission from Israeli composer Avner Dorman.

San Francisco Symphony Announces New Recordings on SFS Media This Season

Spring 2011 Releases to feature music of Beethoven, Ives and Copland

The San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas today announced their recording plans for the 2010-11 season on the Orchestra’s own SFS Media™ label. Following the recent completion of its Grammy® award-winning Mahler recording project, the Orchestra will record and release works from both the core classical repertoire as well as works new to or rarely heard by most audiences. The new recordings will reflect the broad range of programming that has been a hallmark of the MTT/SFS partnership. SFS Media releases will be available on both hybrid SACD and digital download and will be recorded live in concert in Davies Symphony Hall.

"The musicians of this Orchestra are playing at the highest level,” said SF Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. “I continue to be impressed by the power, richness and sophistication of their sound whether performing repertoire by Beethoven or by American Mavericks such as Ives, Copland or John Adams. I am very happy that, on the eve of our Centennial Season, the next chapter in this Orchestra's recording history will focus on sharing our special brand of music making with audiences everywhere."

On February 8, 2011 the Orchestra will release two new discs. Charles Ives’ Concord Symphony arranged by Henry Brant captured in concerts during February 2010 will be paired with Copland’s Organ Symphony featuring Paul Jacobs to be recorded during concerts taking place this week on September 22, 23 and 25. These two modernist, early 20th century works by American composers are rarely recorded or available in surround sound. Also on February 8, 2011 SFS Media will release an All-Beethoven disc featuring the composer’s Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 4 with Emanuel Ax, both recorded in December 2009.

In addition to the Copland Organ Symphony recorded this week, MTT and the SFS will record performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 to be held October 7- 9 and John Adams’ Harmonielehre performed during the composer’s Project San Francisco residency in December 2010. The recordings will be released at a future date to be announced. The SFS commissioned John Adams’ Harmonielehre and first performed it in 1985 under the baton of Edo de Waart, a recording of which was released on Nonesuch Records. It is still currently available on CD and digital download.

The San Francisco Symphony’s recording history dates back to 1925, releasing its first album with its second Music Director, Alfred Hertz. In 1926 the San Francisco Symphony was heard as part of the Standard Symphony Radio Hour broadcasts, the first series of symphonic concert broadcasts in the United States. The broadcast of the SFS’s 1973 Paris concert from the Théâtre des Champs Elysées was the first stereo satellite broadcast of symphonic music in the world. The San Francisco Symphony’s recordings have won some of the world’s most prestigious recording awards, including fourteen Grammy Awards, Japan ’s Record Academy Award, France ’s Grand Prix du Disque, and Britain ’s Gramophone Award. In 2001 SFS Media was launched as the San Francisco Symphony’s own record label on which it released of all nine of Mahler’s symphonies and the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony as well as his songs for voice and orchestra. Unique to all American Orchestras, SFS Media also produces MTT and the SFS’s national public television series and multimedia project Keeping Score designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds. The project is anchored by a national PBS television series that debuted in 2006, and includes an innovative website, www.keepingscore.org, to explore and learn about music; a national radio series; documentary and live performance DVDs; live performance audio CDs and an education program for K-12 schools to further teaching through the arts by integrating classical music into core subjects. Season Three of the Keeping Score television series, centered on the music of Gustav Mahler, is scheduled to air in spring 2011.

All SFS Media recordings are available from the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall and online at sfsymphony.org/store as well as other major retailers. The recordings can also be purchased as MP3s from iTunes, Emusic, Rhapsody, and other digital outlets and high definition downloads are available through HD Tracks, iTrax.com and the theclassicalshop.net in the UK . SFS Media recordings are distributed by Harmonia Mundi in the U.S. , SRI in Canada , through IODA digitally and Avie internationally.

Midori Joins Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Oct. 21-23

Guest conductor Gilbert Varga makes BSO debut

Violinist Midori reunites with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to perform Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, October 22, 2010 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program includes Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture and features the BSO accompanying Midori in her performance of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Also on the program is Stravinsky’s ballet score, Petrouchka, under the baton of conductor Gilbert Varga, making his BSO debut.

Midori is no stranger to Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. In 2004, she released an album pairing the piece with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Receiving rave reviews, Canada’s national newspaper The Globe and Mail described her playing as “an intensity of focus, a lyrical tenderness and a deep sense of the long perspectives and the singular contrasts in this severely demanding work. Such musical acuity, intellectual penetration and technical command are seldom so finely coordinated in any performance.”

In Shostakovich’s time, violin concertos seldom included the dissonant and sarcastic tone of this Concerto. During the reign of Joseph Stalin, composers and other artists were blacklisted for releasing any work that “offended” the Soviet people. Shostakovich was the main “public enemy” for his subtle refusal of Stalin’s ideals. In order to save himself in 1948, Shostakovich hid his Concerto until Stalin’s death in 1953. Once the government’s strictness began to thaw, the Violin Concerto No. 1 premiered with the Leningrad Philharmonic in 1955 and later that year premiered with the New York Philharmonic. Shostakovich was not only welcomed to the United States as an accomplished composer, but his Violin Concerto No. 1 earned acclaim for its virtuosity, imagination and beauty.

Stravinsky originally planned to create The Rite of Spring as his second ballet, but deferred the project to work on Petrouchka. The original score was developed for an enormous orchestra, but in 1947, Stravinsky revised its concert version, reducing the instrumental forces. Petrouchka was inspired by his vision of a carnival puppet and became a bittersweet tale of the love triangle between three puppets at a fair.

Mikhail Glinka grew up in early 1800s Russia that did not have a style of classical music to call its own. Influenced by Western European music and his friendships with Italian opera singers, he was determined to compose in his native style and became the "father of Russian music." Glinka composed the operatic score Ruslan and Ludmilla based on the fairytale by his friend, Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The tale tells of the beautiful Ludmilla, who is rescued from harm by her true love, Ruslan. After an unenthusiastic premiere, Russians later enjoyed the opera, with its poem inspired by ancient Slavic tales and romantic, passionate music.

Midori Plays Shostakovich
Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, October 22, 2010 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Gilbert Varga, conductor †
Midori, violin

Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1
Stravinsky: Petrouchka

† Denotes a BSO artist debut

Tickets range from $27 to $88 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

PNC Donates $500,000 to Support the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Community Outreach and Access Initiatives

At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) annual Gala Celebration on Saturday, September 11, PNC Greater Maryland Regional President and BSO Gala Chair Louis (Lou) R. Cestello announced from stage a $500,000 gift from PNC. This leadership gift will underwrite for three seasons the Orchestra’s outreach and access initiatives, including continued affordable ticket pricing, the Off the Cuff series, the Music Matters campaign, OrchKids and Midweek Education Concerts.

In 2007, PNC provided leadership support of $1 million to launch the BSO’s landmark, multi-year ticket initiative that made all subscription seats available for just $25 beginning with the 2007-2008 season. This historic pricing structure resulted in a 17% increase in the total number of Baltimore subscribers and cemented the BSO’s commitment to accessible ticket pricing. PNC’s most recent grant enables the BSO to offer affordable tickets and reach new audiences in this and future seasons. BSO Music Director Marin Alsop’s engaging series, Off the Cuff, also reaches new audiences by introducing classical repertoire to any level of symphonic enthusiast. As a key supporter of both these initiatives, PNC plays a significant role in further expanding the BSO’s reach into the community it serves.

A portion of the grant aligns with PNC Grow Up Great , a 10-year, $100 million school readiness initiative designed to help children from birth to age five to arrive at school ready to learn, PNC’s contribution also supports several of the BSO’s programs for youth, including OrchKids and the Midweek Education Concerts. The BSO’s OrchKids program provides year-round music lessons, tutoring, after-school care and free meals to more than 200 pre-K through 3rd grade students in West Baltimore. Through the Midweek Education Concerts, the BSO provides almost 35,000 students each year with an affordable and age-appropriate live concert experience.

Vittorio Grigolo: The Italian Tenor Debut Release on Sony Classical

"…a charismatic performer with undeniable audience appeal" – The New York Times

Sony Classical proudly announces its debut release by the highly-acclaimed tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Hailed as one of the finest tenors in recent times, Grigolo’s recording of The Italian Tenor will be available on October 5 and features famous arias and lesser known discoveries. Also, on October 16, Grigolo makes his highly anticipated debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in La Bohème.

Grigolo purposely waited to record his first operatic solo album until he had something unique to communicate in the repertoire. According to Grigolo, “I chose arias representing the culture I come from.

Born in Tuscany, Grigolo began his career as a young boy performing as a soloist in the celebrated Sistine Chapel Choir. His distinctive voice attracted the praise of the great Luciano Pavarotti when, at age thirteen, he starred alongside him as the Pastorello in Tosca at the Rome Opera. He went on to be the youngest tenor ever to debut at the legendary La Scala, Milan and has conquered many of the world’s great opera houses since, appearing with the finest artists and conductors of our day. Grigolo made his Chicago debut in 2008 starring in a tribute to Pavarotti in front of thousands at Grant Park. He made his Washington, D.C. debut in 2009 sharing the stage with Renée Fleming in a lauded production of Lucrezia Borgia conducted by Plácido Domingo. Recently, he triumphed in his debut at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in Massenet’s Manon.

The Italian Tenor presents arias from three great operatic composers - Gaetano Donizetti, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. These include Donizetti's “Una furtiva lagrima” (L'Elisir d'Amore) which was made famous by Enrico Caruso, whose famous performance of the aria paved the way for the opera's return to the repertoire after years of neglect. Equally as beautiful is “Spirto gentil” (La Favorita) in which the lead character laments the loss of his love forever.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Opens Family Concert Series with “Halloween Spooktacular,” Oct. 30

Program features Actor Timothy Marrone in Lemony Snicket’s “The Composer is Dead

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will present “Halloween Spooktacular” led by the BSO-Peabody Bruno Walter Assistant Conductor Ilyich Rivas, Saturday, October 30 at 11 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program features Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead with actor Timothy Marrone as narrator. The story is a gripping murder mystery that makes every member of the orchestra a suspect. As the inspector interrogates each orchestra section, each instrument is brought to life in this musical mystery.

Children’s author Lemony Snicket is world-renowned for his stories captured in A Series of Unfortunate Events, selling more than 60 million copies worldwide in 39 languages. The first three stories in this series were later combined to create the film, A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring comedian Jim Carrey and Academy-Award winner Meryl Streep. Nathaniel Stookey originally created The Composer Is Dead as an orchestral work with narration by Lemony Snicket. The work was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and premiered in 2006, with Lemony Snicket narrating and Edwin Outwater conducting.

The BSO Family Fun Zone will begin at 10 a.m. in the Meyerhoff lobby. Children and their families can take advantage of numerous free, age-appropriate pre-concert activities, including, the Maryland Zoo’s ZOOmobile, an instrument petting zoo presented by Music & Arts and face painting. Children are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costume for a chance to win prizes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Olga Kern Triumphs with Tchaikovsky

Colorado Symphony under the direction of Principal Guest Conductor Douglas Boyd Open their Masterworks Season with Olga Kern and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1

Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onégin & Beethoven's Fifth Symphony Open the first half of the concert

A nearly packed house was thrilled with Colorado Symphony's Friday Night Concert. The thunderous applause at the end for Olga Kern's stunning performance of Tchiakovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 made the opening half of the concert almost seem like a warm-up for the main attraction. And that's saying something considering one of the world's most popular pieces, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, closed the first half of the concert. Colorado Symphony under the baton on Douglas Boyd, Principal Guest Conductor did an excellent performance of Beethoven; it's just that Olga brought her game and she can play!!!

The opening of the Tchaikovsky is immediately recognizable with the hammering chord that climb the keyboard again and again. But the music quickly glides into moments of grace, where Olga's style and elegance really shine. Tchaikovsky also has those beautiful lyric melodies so well suited for Olga Kern and her command of the keyboard. From power to polish, the music sifted through the full range of emotions with each one captured perfectly on the piano.

The second movement opened with the new flautist Brook Ellen Shoenwald showing what a alluring addition she makes to the Colorado Symphony. Silver Ainomäe, Principal Cellist, also shared the limelight with Olga with a brief cello-piano duet. Still, it was Olga's night, highlight her every talent, from spider-like fingers that wove a web of sound, to the shimmering accompaniment behind the orchestra's dance. Whether it was the power of hands, or the grace and innate understanding of the musical style, Olga truly triumphed with her performance of Tchaikovsky tonight.

Douglas Boyd adroitly maneuvered the orchestra to accompany Olga Kern's every move. As Olga finished the cadenza the piano seemed to drift away while the flutes melted in from underneath. Later, in one of Olga's more powerful moments she finished off with a blistering battering of the keys and Maestro Boyd brought the orchestra in blazing away. The transitions were seamless, as if Olga and Douglas were of a single moment, communing as one in the music.

Although it may seem a bit anti-climatic, and out of order to speak of the first have of the concert now. Still, it was part of the evening and a solid performance by the Colorado Symphony.

Beyond the traditional "Star Spangled Banner," (which had the crowd singing along), the concert opened with Tchaikovsky's Waltz & Polonaise from Eugene Onégin. These are immediately recognizable pieces and still Douglas Boyd brought a fresh life to them. The Waltz was filled with the full range of dynamics showing off the dexterity the musicians have with their instruments. Douglas was lively at the podium coaxing every shift and sway as the Tchaikovsky glided through the hall.

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is a power house. The opening movement is so recognizable it's difficult to try and instill something new to the music. Yet Colorado Symphony did. Douglas Boyd was extremely expressive with his use of the full dynamic range of the orchestra bringing them to a barely audible whisper to the blazing brash of the trombones with the final movement. As the piece came to a close the tempo was bright and brilliant bringing the momentum and energy of the music to the breaking point. And the players responded without any hesitation. It's as if Douglas was leading them to a cliff at full speed and they never once applied the brakes.

What they did was bring the audience to their feet. Boettcher Concert Hall had barely stopped reverberative from the music when the audience was showing their appreciation. From the rafters to the foot of the stage, the audience was thrilled with the performance. The Colorado Symphony could have ended the program right there. But there was still Olga...

It's almost a shame to have such a wonderful opening first half, what could have been the closing performance of any concert, only to have it topped with Olga Kern and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in the second half. Jim Palermo said before the concert began this was going to be an amazing season. If they keep up this level of performance, it will be a season unlike any they've ever had.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TONIGHT: Nearly 300 Rusty Musicians Get Chance to Play with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

The much-anticipated Baltimore edition of “Rusty Musicians with the BSO” will take place tonight, Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. More than 450 amateur musicians applied to join members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra led by Music Director Marin Alsop in performances of Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture and the finale from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, with 254 selected to participate. To accommodate the large number of participants, the evening will include four sessions starting at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Each session includes rehearsal time and a full performance. “Rusty Musicians with the BSO” is in keeping with the BSO’s vision to increase the community’s involvement in music and serve as a cultural resource for the Baltimore-Washington region.

The first “Rusty Musicians with the BSO” was held at the Music Center at Strathmore in February 2010, with a response of more than 600 applicants and a turnout of 400 participants.

Rusty Musicians with the BSO

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 with session beginning at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 2101

Marin Alsop, conductor
Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Stravinsky: Finale from Firebird Suite (1919 version)

Tickets for these concerts are $10 general admission and can be purchased through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

Cantique - The Music of Arvo Pärt

Kristjan Järvi, conductor
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
RIAS Kammerchor

“A kinetic force on the podium” – The New York Times

Sony Classical is pleased to announce a new, exclusive multi-album recording agreement with the dynamic the Estonian-born and American-raised conductor Kristjan Järvi. The new relationship launches with the release of Cantique, featuring the music of iconic Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in celebration of his 75th birthday. Järvi leads the Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin and the RIAS Kammerchor. Cantique includes Pärt’s 1971 masterpiece, Symphony No. 3, plus the world premiere recordings of the orchestral and choral version of his Stabat mater (1985/2008) and Cantique des degrès (1999/2002) for choir and orchestra. The album was produced by Florian Schmidt and recorded at Haus des Rundfunks in Berlin in February 2010.

Cantique represents the culmination of a lifelong friendship between Kristjan Järvi and Arvo Pärt, which has been shaped as much by their shared personal history as their shared musical life. The Järvi and Pärt families have been friends since the 1960s, when Kristjan’s father Neeme Järvi and Arvo Pärt worked together at Estonian Radio – Neeme Järvi as the conductor of the Estonian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, and Pärt as a recording engineer. Both families chose to emigrant from Estonia in 1980 because of continuing struggles with Soviet officials, and settled in Vienna within days of each other. Initially, they stayed at the same convent there, which was a stop for refugees. Though the Pärt family remained in Vienna, later relocating to Berlin, and the Järvis moved to the United States, the families have remained close throughout the decades.

Their musical lives have remained intertwined over the years, and have crossed generations. Pärt’s Symphony No. 3 is a major symphonic masterpiece of the late 20th century and is dedicated to Neeme Järvi. In 2008, when Kristjan Järvi was the music director of the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich in Vienna, he commissioned an orchestral and choral version of Pärt’s Stabat mater, originally written for soprano, alto, and tenor, with string trio. Järvi premiered it with that orchestra at the Großen Musikvereinssaal during the Wiener Festwochen, with Pärt in attendance. For both men, it was a moving experience to premiere the work in the city to which they both originally came as refugees.

The orchestra – Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin – is one with which Kristjan Järvi has collaborated for more than a decade, and hails from Berlin, Pärt’s home for many years outside of Estonia.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Soloists of the Canadian Brass: Brahms & Mozart for Horn Trio with a world premiere!


“A MUST HEAR performance which, I am sure, will be received with high musical and technical praise. Enjoy!” - Dale Clevenger, Principal Horn, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Opening Day Records proudly inaugurates a new imprint of its impressive catalogue, Soloists of Canadian Brass, with a new recording of Horn Trios featuring virtuoso hornist Jeff Nelsen, joined by veteran violinist Ik-Hwan Bae and new piano sensation Naomi Kudo. These are intimate and beautiful readings of two well-loved masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire featuring French horn: the Brahms Trio, Op.40, and a world premiere adaptation of the Mozart Horn Quintet for Horn Trio by Tony Rickard.

Opening Day Records, headed by Canadian Brass founding member and tuba player Chuck Daellenbach, features a rich variety of great Canadian artists, showcasing the same musical range and quality that has made Canadian Brass famous for the last 40 years. With the Soloists of the Canadian Brass imprint, there is now a home for the solo and chamber projects of current and former Brass virtuosi, from Ronald Romm to Ryan Anthony to Brandon Ridenour.

Weaving a tapestry of colors and moods, the Brahms Horn Trio has become a proving ground for great horn players. Written after his mother’s death, Brahms combines gentle melancholy and remembrance with, in the faster passages, joyous scenes of the hunt. The world premiere recording of a new arrangement of Mozart’s Horn Quintet, K.407, for Horn Trio, is Mozart at his most delightful, aligning beauty and balance with melody and humor, along with a horn part of great virtuosity and sensitivity.

Anne-Sophie Mutter Records Brahms Sonatas on Deutsche Grammophon

Anne-Sophie Mutter & Lambert Orkis Release a New Recording of Brahms’ Three Violin Sonatas on Deutsche Grammophon, Available October 12, 2010

Acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter returns to recording chamber music after two highly successful albums devoted primarily to concertos (Mendelssohn and Bach & Gubaidulina) and also returns to Brahms, a composer who has meant much to her over the years. Mutter is joined by longtime partner Lambert Orkis with whom she previously recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas, and the two reveal the musical benefits of frequent collaboration. This new recording will be available October 12, 2010 in both CD and DVD formats.

Anne-Sophie Mutter came across the Brahms Sonatas at age five and a half when she heard David Oistrakh in concert. Soon she was performing the Brahms Concerto and Double Concerto with Karajan and even recorded them for DG in the early 1980s. Now, almost 30 years later, Ms. Mutter returns to Brahms with a different perspective. According to her, “my view of Brahms, my view on anything I play today has changed. I have a deeper understanding of music and, if you want it or not, life does leave its marks not only in your brain but in your heart and in your soul.”

These three monumental works for violin and piano were composed in just under the span of a decade, with the second and third sonatas both composed during the summer of 1886. Each is unique unto itself and evokes different emotions and images: the private feeling of the G major sonata to the sunnier disposition of the A major and the more grand (and demonic) D minor sonata. Mutter and Orkis have played these works around the world for nearly twenty years and now bring their individual and shared life experiences to this recording. As Orkis says, “We’ve learned them, we’ve lived with them, and we’ve played them on various continents together, and we go through life experiences, and now we bring it all to this music. Brahms is a composer who’s not showing off: he’s showing life, beauty, art. It’s wonderful.”

Concert by Gustavo Dudamel and Vienna Philharmonic from Lucerne Festival on September 18 Is First Free Live Webcast

Performance Also Available for Video-On-Demand (VOD) Viewing for 90 Days, Exclusively at www.medici.tv

Concerts from This Summer’s Verbier Festival – Including Deborah Voigt Starring in Concert Version of Richard Strauss’s Salome, Conducted by Valery Gergiev – Also Available as Free VOD at www.medici.tv until September 30

Superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic will headline the fall offerings from www.medici.tv with a concert from the Lucerne Festival that will be webcast live, and for free, on Saturday, September 18 at 4:30pm GMT (10:30am EDT). The concert will also be available for 90 days of free VOD (video on demand) viewing exclusively at www.medici.tv, the increasingly popular performance arts website. The deliciously varied program – including music by Rossini, Orbón, Bernstein, and Ravel – is a preview of a performance Dudamel and the orchestra will give at New York’s Carnegie Hall this October, one of several the conductor will give this season in a special relationship with the justly famous orchestra and in partnership with Rolex.

The Dudamel/Vienna Philharmonic webcast is one of several concerts that will be webcast live at www.medici.tv this fall. Highlights include the Orchestre National de Lyon under the direction of Jun Märkl in the season-opening concert of the Auditorium de Lyon (Sep 24). Additional concerts from the venue follow, including soloists of the Opéra National de Paris’s Atelier Lyrique in a program of popular songs (Oct 27); the fast-rising Pacifica Quartet performing music by Janácek, Bartók, Haydn, and Schubert (Nov 3); and, just in time for the holidays, Serge Baudo conducting the Orchestre National de Lyon in Berlioz’s luminous pastoral oratorio, L’enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ).

Upcoming live events on www.medici.tv

Saturday, September 18 at 4:30pm gmt – exclusively on www.medici.tv Lucerne Festival: Vienna Philharmonic / Gustavo Dudamel Rossini: Overture to La gazza ladra Orbón: Tres versiones sinfónicas Bernstein: Divertimento for orchestra Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte Ravel: Boléro

Wednesday , September 22 at 6:00pm gmt – live Auditorium du Louvre Philharmonic Octet Berlin / Guy Braunstein, violin and conductor Mozart: String Quintet No. 2 in C, K.515 Shostakovitch: Two Pieces for String Octet, Op. 11 Wiesenberg: Octet Movement – Homage to Mendelssohn Mendelssohn: String Octet in E-flat, Op. 20

Friday, September 24 at 6:30pm gmt – live Opening concert of the Auditorium de Lyon Orchestre National de Lyon / Jun Märkl All-Richard Strauss program: Divertimento (after F. Couperin) Concertino for clarinet and bassoon Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)

Wednesday, October 27 at 6:00pm gmt – live Auditorium du Louvre Soloists of the Opéra National de Paris’s Atelier Lyrique Beethoven, Haydn, Ravel, De Falla: Popular songs

Wednesday, November 3 at 6:00pm gmt – live Auditorium du Louvre Pacifica Quartet Janácek: Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” Bartók: Quartet No. 4 Haydn: String Quartet in D, Hob.III.63, Op. 64, No. 5 “The Lark” Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D.810, “Death and the Maiden”

Thursday, December 16 at 6:30pm – live Auditorium de Lyon Orchestre National de Lyon; Choeurs et Solistes de Lyon-Bernard-Tétu / Serge Baudo Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ)